City of Springfield Advised to Centralize Fleet
February 22, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, IL - A report of fiscal sustainability conducted by Maximus Consulting Services for the City of Springfield recommended it centralize its four fleets into one and hire a fleet manager. The report found the City neglected spending on capital expenditures and that in order to spend more on infrastructure, it should also reduce the number of people it employs.
The report stated that the Fire, Public Works, Police, and City Water, Light & Power (CWLP) departments all had specialized vehicles and maintained their own fleets. "We believe the city needs to evaluate the concept of a central garage to support all city-owned vehicles," the report said.
The Vehicle Maintenance unit of the Public Works Department consists of nine employees: one supervisor, two staff members for stocking and parts, four vehicle mechanics, and two non-vehicle operating equipment mechanics.
The Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF) of CWLP, which consists of 27 positions, said it was difficult to maintain an aging fleet. The report recommended management review shift assignments of VMF staff to see if increasing the number of mechanics in the evening shift would improve routine maintenance.
It found that fire mechanic salaries were far higher than mechanic salaries in other departments and recommended fire mechanic salaries be reduced. However, the report also stated that this would probably not be possible due to unions.
Another noted fact was the difference in mechanic productivity among the four facilities. Public Works mechanics are responsible for 67 items each on average (compared to Central Illinois peer city average of 64), while Police Department mechanics are responsible for 33 items each. The report suggests that keeping spare vehicles to ensure quick turn-around may be more cost effective than continuing with the current workload for the police fleet.
While the report states that a centralized garage may not be able to be built soon, it suggests using two facilities in the interim phase-in period, under one director. "There should be one fleet management software application, one director, one parts manager, consolidation of fuel and fluid sites, and common oversight of customer turnaround times and mechanic productivity," it stated.
According to the State Journal-Register, the proposed City budget for FY-2013 calls for the creation of a new fleet management position to oversee consolidation of the City's fleet. Two aldermen have proposed eliminating that position and instead hiring a consultant to oversee the consolidation.
The full PDF of the report can be found here. Section 2.2.13 lists details of the centralized fleet management garage proposal.